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Thursday, 20 September
Round Two

Today was my follow-up visit with Dr. Hair! I expected excitement! Edification! Other things that begin with "E" that are not enemas!

What's the opposite of edification?

I'll say this for my Scandinavian-themed health provider: they are time-efficient. (E!) There's a sign in the lobby: "If you have been waiting for longer than 15 minutes, please speak to the front desk." FUCK THAT! Five minutes after I got there, the delightful plump little gnome LPN who greeted me last time called my name. "How are ya, buddy?" she chirped, and warmly shook my hand. I sort of love her in the same way I love turtles. I don't really want to touch her or anything creepy; I'm just a happier person because she is in the world.

She weighed me again--I'd gained a pound, and she crowed, "Good job!" I felt weirdly proud for a moment for gaining one pound, and then she told me to turn a corner, and when I did she cried, "Good job!" Oh, I have nothing to be proud of, I thought bitterly. She's a liar. But then I didn't care, because my gnome was so adorable, and she sphygmomamamanometered me again, read the results and yelled "Good job!" again, and I was charmed once more, even though my blood pressure and heart rate are still pretty high. I have done a good job, I told myself. The gnome says so.

Then it was time for Dr. Hair again, and again, I think I only waited for five minutes before he showed. The Scandinavians continued to impress, time-wise. He stared at the gnome's notes for a bit and asked me how I was doing.

"The same," I said flatly. I still have tremors and funky parasthesias.

"[The gnome] says your cough is gone!" he said, raising his eyebrows. This was true, actually. I remembered on my intake form that they put "cough" as Reason for Visit, and I was all, That's really not the salient thing going on here, but whatever. But I couldn't argue the point.

"That's true. My cough is gone." Then I kind of ruined the moment by coughing. "That was a smoking cough," I said, feeling like an asshole.

"Okay!" Dr. Hair agreed brightly. He listened to my lungs to make sure. "Sounds good! I guess you're not the same, then! We got rid of the cough!"

Well, he had me there. "Yeah, that's cool," I said in the same tones that you might say "So, potato salad."

Then he asked me about the beta blockers. "I literally cannot tell any difference at all," I replied. I had been warned about various reactions to these things, but I honestly couldn't ever recall any emotional or physical effect at all. I might as well have been eating lettuce.

"Hmmm," said Dr. Hair. "Did I give you the 25 milligram dose?" Like I paid attention.

"If you say so," I said.

"Let's double that," he replied, writing a new prescription. "Just take two pills tonight instead of one." Oh, do let's!

(I did; in fact a couple hours ago. You might be interested to learn: I cannot tell any difference at all. I just took my pulse, and it's as hummingbirdish as it's always been.)

He went on to talk about my last blood panel, which he had told me earlier was only of concern because of the high level of iron in my blood, raising the specter of something called hemochromatosis, which you have to admit, is kind of an awesome name for . . . well, a crappy thing, I guess.

You also might love the kind-of--depending on who you talk to--standard treatment for hemochromatosis: you get a pint or so of blood removed. Hey, I was using that! That sounds fun.

"Some doctors don't do that, though," he also explained.

"Why not?" I asked.

"There are some studies," he said cryptically. Hey, can I choose? Because I enjoy my blood, mostly so I can live.

I asked Dr. Hair how this still theoretical hemochromatosis was affecting my primary symptoms.

"Oh, God, it has nothing to do with that," he said. "I have no idea about that." He took out a business card and began writing down phone numbers. "I'm not really worried." I sat there, because I'm apparently really good at that.

"This is a hematologist, if it turns out that liver function is the problem. And this is a neurologist, since with the tremor thing, if you want," he explained as he wrote. I have no idea what's going on, I thought, but I said nothing, because . . . I guess I'm stupid. I stared mutely at the business card and then pocketed it.

Then I got another blood draw and I left. I passed the gnome's workstation on my way out, and she looked up at me and waved happily. "I'll see you next time, okay?" she called.

I love turtles, I thought. I felt a little better. And I suppose that's why you go to the doctor.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Hey I think the haemachromatosis means that you’re an anti-anemic.

Leaches, junk food and possibly changing from red wine to white.

Comment number: 015070   Posted by: Lung the Younger on September 21, 2007 06:21 AM from IP:

You should have hopped off the examination table, grabbed his hand, and yelled, "You've been no help at all! I'll see you in hell!", while furiously pumping his greasy little paw.

Comment number: 015071   Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' on September 21, 2007 06:51 AM from IP:

I'm sorry you've caught the crazy and hope you get better. Not being able to get an answer out of these supposed doctors when something is seriously wrong makes me want to climb the walls. It's even worse when it's not you but someone you care about.

Comment number: 015076   Posted by: Paul on September 21, 2007 08:20 AM from IP:

Good job! with that post!

Comment number: 015077   Posted by: Alyxmyself on September 21, 2007 09:10 AM from IP:

I'm probably supposed to laugh. But I find myself becoming irate. Funny.

Comment number: 015086   Posted by: Johnny on September 21, 2007 04:24 PM from IP:

Dude, you totally have benign tremors that are causing a huge amount of anxiety that you try to suppress causing psychosomatic symptoms of all sort.

I know this because I went through a very similar thing. When the hematologist and neurologist tell you there's nothing wrong, you might feel better -- as long as you're convinced they're right. But if you allow those benign tremors to bother you, you're fucked.

Comment number: 015089   Posted by: Not a doctor on September 22, 2007 12:16 AM from IP:

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